WASHINGTON -  Some of the Republican Party's biggest financial donors have urged its national committee to drop Donald Trump in the wake of accusations he sexually assaulted women, The New York Times reported.

In a further sign the Republican presidential candidate's free-falling campaign is sowing deep divisions within a party in crisis, the paper quoted some of those who have given millions of dollars to Republicans as saying the scandal surrounding the real estate billionaire threatens the party with lasting damage unless it repudiates him.

"At some point, you have to look in the mirror and recognize that you cannot possibly justify support for Trump to your children - especially your daughters," Missouri businessman David Humphreys told The New York Times, which said he contributed more than $2.5 million (2.3 million euros) in the last four years.

"He is a dangerous demagogue completely unsuited to the responsibilities of a United States president," New York investor Bruce Kovner said in an email to the daily.

"Even for loyalists, there is a line beyond which the obvious moral failings of a candidate are impossible to disregard," he wrote. "That line has been clearly breached."

As fresh revelations about Donald Trump’ improper treatment of women jolts his campaign, his prospects for a win in November 8 election appear moving further apart.

Among the many factors pulling Trump down three stand out: his refusal to come out with honest admissions about his past; Republican leaders’ unending unease about the Trump fallout for their own election odds and for the party; and his unrelenting hateful narrative about minorities and immigrants that contrast starkly with those of her shrewd rival Hillary Clinton, who despite controversies has advanced her campaign successfully.

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Trump’s poll numbers are faltering even in battleground states, making it harder for him to win the winning 270 electoral votes.

According to Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Marist polls, Trump lags behind Clinton by 4 percentage points in North Carolina, and was ahead by 1 point in Ohio.

“Both battleground states took on outsize importance for Mr. Trump after his campaign all but conceded Virginia and a Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Marist poll earlier in the week showed him trailing by double digits in Pennsylvania.

“Without winning those two states-and losing in either Ohio or North Carolina-Mr Trump’s ability to capture the necessary 270 electoral votes appears increasingly unrealistic,” the Journal reported.

Meanwhile, Trump has defended himself against accusations by several women that he groped and kissed them without their consent.

One the other hand, US President Barack Obama warned Friday that American "democracy itself" is on the ballot in November's presidential election, as White House concern grows about the lasting impact of Republican Donald Trump's scorched-earth campaign.

At a fiery campaign event for Democrat Hillary Clinton in Cleveland, Ohio, Obama trashed Trump as a dictator-in-the-making, but also voiced concerns about how Trump's legion of supporters might react to a possible election defeat.

Trump has in the last week declared himself free from the shackles of normal political etiquette and hurled a series of highly inflammatory accusations against Clinton and her husband.

"Civility is on the ballot" on November 8, Obama told a group of largely young voters in the swing state of Ohio.

"Tolerance is on the ballot," he continued. "Courtesy is on the ballot. Honesty is on the ballot. Equality is on the ballot. Kindness is on the ballot. All the progress we made in the last eight years is on the ballot.

"Democracy itself is on the ballot right now."

As Trump has tanked in polls, his campaign in chaos over a damning video tape and snowballing allegations of sexual impropriety, thoughts have turned to whether the controversial real estate mogul would even acknowledge defeat should he lose.

He has spent the last week claiming the media and a "global elite" are working against him.

"Hillary Clinton meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of US sovereignty in order to enrich these global financial powers, her special interest friends and her donors," Trump told supporters in Florida.

Obama gave that claim short shrift.

"C'mon man!" he said.

"This is somebody who... is now suggesting that if the election doesn't go his way, it's not because all the stuff he's said, but it's because it's rigged and it's a fraud.

"You don't start complaining about the refs before the game's even done. You just play the game, right?"

Obama's speech was the second strike at Trump in as many days by the US presidential couple - after Michelle Obama caused a sensation with an impassioned takedown of the Republican nominee.

With 25 days to go before Election Day, Clinton cheered on as the first lady branded Trump "disgraceful" and urged women to fight him at the ballot box - but is herself keeping a strikingly low profile.

Clinton has no campaign rallies planned for days, leaving Trump to battle on alone in a sea of swirling sexual assault allegations.

 

 

Special Correspondent/AFP